Academies are schools funded by the government with the freedom to govern independently - but all are accountable to the Secretary of State for Education. To share resources and best practice, many are part of multi-academy trusts - a network of schools under one legal body.

Ark Ayrton Academy is part of Ark - a leading education charity and one of the country's top-performing academy operators. Ark is non-denominational and does not make any profit from running its schools.

Ark's relationship with the Secretary of State is set out in the master funding agreement. There are also supplemental funding agreements for each individual school in the network, including Ark Ayrton.

Every school in the Ark network is the legal responsibility of the Ark Schools Board. This board focuses on statutory duties and delegates most day-to-day responsibilities to each school's individual Local Governing Body (LGB). This means that, unlike most non-academy governing bodies, Ark Ayrton's governors are able to concentrate on the things that really matter - educational strategy, school outcomes and aspiration.

Master Funding Agreement

Amendment and restatement agreement 2013

Ayrton Supplemental individual funding agreement

our local governing body

Ark Ayrton Primary Academy’s LGB is made up as follows:

  • Six to ten members appointed by Ark, to include the Chair – usually people with a local connection or interest who are committed to supporting educational opportunity in the area
  • Ark Ayrton Primary Academy Principal
  • One parent governor
  • One teaching staff governor
  • One non-teaching staff governor
  • One local authority representative from Portsmouth

Ark aims to create a balanced group that will have the right skills, connections and dynamic for the LGB to work well and support the school in achieving exceptional performance:

  • Good insight into the specific challenges at the school and the general challenges of operating top-quality schools
  • Excellent community links
  • Specific skills as needed by/relevant to the school
  • A link to the senior executive team of Ark

The LGB meets six times a year.

We do not have separate committees but have designated Governors with particular responsibility. 

contacting the governors

The current Clerk to Governors is Valerie Oldland ( Governors can be contacted through Valerie, and the parent governor can be contacted through the school office.

If you are interested in becoming a governor, please visit If you have any governance-related queries, please contact

Current Governors

Ann H-Chapman (Hibberd) (principal)

Michael Gallagher (chair)

I am a retired architect with nearly 20 years of experience as a governor within private school sector. I am also chairman and treasurer of a local charity in the area where I live. I have two grown up children and two grandchildren.

Alan Cox (Finance Link Governor)

Alan Cox is a retired Chartered Accountant. For 26 years he was a consultancy partner in Moore Stephens, then for 10 years Finance and Operations Director of Buttle UK , a grant giving childrens charity operating in the welfare and education sectors. He is married with three adult children, and lives in Emsworth in Hampshire.

Anna Machin (Ark Link Governor)

I am Governance Delivery Officer at Ark Schools, working to support the 31 Local Governing Bodies across the network through developing our resources, training and communications. Prior to joining Ark, I worked as Development Director for Student Hubs, the UK’s leading charity working to engage university students with social and environmental issues, managing philanthropic partnerships with a range of corporate, governmental and educational institutions. I am passionate about education as a means of enhancing young peoples’ life prospects – and the valuable role that governors play in making this happen.

Katherine Murriman

I work for Portsmouth City Council as an Anti-Social Behaviour Caseworker. My previous work history has included working out in the local Community as a Community Warden. I first became a governor as I had a great deal of involvement with the school, the pupils and parents through my day to day work and I wanted to help to improve the school and improve the chances for the pupils attending the school. I am very passionate about the school , staff and pupils and want to continue as a Governor in order to help the school grow as it takes on all the new challenges.

Sonia Nickerson (Parent Governor and Safeguarding Link Governor)

I have been teaching for 15 years. The majority of my career has been spent in challenging schools which I have thoroughly enjoyed. I have a large family consisting of 5 children who are all at different stages in their education. My youngest child attends Ark Ayrton Primary School and is in Year 2. I worked at Somers Park and then Ark Ayrton for 8 years before getting my headship. It is the most inspiring and motivating place to work and I moved my child there after she started reception in a different city school. I have a real interest in the success of the school and have a firm belief that the academy is going from strength to strength. I thoroughly supported the academy conversion and had first hand experience of the investment they put into children's education

Alison Norton (SEND Link Governor)

I am Operational Support Officer at Charter Academy. This involves various operational tasks included in the smooth and safe running of the Academy including organising cover for staff absence, organising parents evenings and other events, support to the Vice Principal, admissions, exclusions, etc. Until Summer 2016 I was Examinations Officer at Charter Academy, Portsmouth - co-ordinating internal assessments and public exams. I have a background in Speech and Language Therapy and Family Mediation. In my early career, I worked with children with hearing impairment and multiple handicap as well as those with more general difficulties. As a Family Mediator I worked with separating and divorcing couples and their children. I moved to Portsmouth in 2002 with my family and, in 2004, began working at St Luke’s school (forerunner of Charter Academy) to support children at serious risk of permanent exclusion. I have continued at the school in various roles ever since. Much of my life has been spent living and working in inner cities. I firmly believe that children from inner cities are entitled to the very best education available and should have the same opportunities in life as children from more affluent areas.


William Edwards (Local Authority Representative)

I have been married for the past 50 years and my wife and I have lived in Southsea for over 30 years. We have 3 children and 5 grand children. I served in the Royal Navy for 32 years and retired as a Lieutenant Commander. I was trained in Logistics and have a wide range of knowledge in finance and man management. I have managed staff of up to 60 personnel and have taught both logistics and man management skills. On retirement, I was employed by The Royal British Legion as their Senior Welfare Officer then as an Internal Auditor, raising reports for senior management, identifying areas of concern and recommendations, and raising follow-up reports. 
It is up most important that every child in this country should be provided with a good education and encouraged to reach their potential. I wish to support this process in any way I can.

Mandy Rutledge (non-teaching staff)

I work at Ark Ayrton Academy as a Learning Mentor and I am the designated senior person for safeguarding at the school. Throughout my 14 year career, my passion has always been education and working with families and children (some of whom are at risk of permanent exclusions), and some who have been or are at crisis point.  My priority is to improve outcomes for those groups and ensure that they have the best support and intervention to allow this to happen. I firmly believe every child deserves the same life chances. As new challenges come along and the school grows from strength to strength, I would like to continue to positively contribute to the identification, planning, delivery and monitoring of the excellent support we strive to promote for our children and families.

Tracey Woods(teaching staff)

Tracey Woods is a class teacher and Science Lead at Ark Ayrton. She has been at the academy for a total of 8 years in a variety of roles. She is fully aware of the part the governors play to support the school to be successful and is excited at the opportunity to play a part in that.




LGB Name Term Dates Gov type and Term Relevant declarations of interest Attendance 2015/16
William Edwards 01/05/2015 Local Authority Rep N/A

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Jan Fleming 01/09/2013 Principal N/A

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Michael Gallagher 01/09/2013 Chair
  1. Retired Architect, former partner in Lewis & Hickey Ltd
  2. Director of Churchers College Enterprises
  3. Chairman of Governors of Churchers College Petersfield
  4. Member of Institute of Directors
  5. Member of Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)

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Anna Machin 10/03/2015 Ark Link
  1. Governance Delivery Officer in the Ark Governance team.
  2. Director, Talk to me London.
  3. Student member, Institute of Chartered Secretaries & Administrators (ICSA)

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Sonia Nickerson 01/09/2015 Parent N/A

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Mandy Rutledge 12/06/2014 Non-Teaching Staff N/A

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Tracey Woods 01/07/2015 Teaching Staff


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Alison Norton 01/09/2013;              


Ark Nominated
  1. Examinations Officer at Charter Academy, Portsmouth (Ark employed)

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Katherine Murriman 01/09/2013;              


Ark Nominated
  1. Employee: Portsmouth City Council

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All appointments are made by the Governance Manager for Ark.  The term of a governor is three years, except for the Principal, who remains a governor for the duration of their time in post.